In the spring of 2020, a team of intrepid adventurers set off on an expedition like no other!
The challenge was to hike all the way to Everest base camp using only the stairs (and objects) in their house.
Could it be done???
There were many tough times, hiking at high altitude is no mean feat. The team even had to say goodbye to fellow hikers along the way, who were lucky enough to be flown by helicopter back down to Lukla.
The story has gained media interest worldwide. But who are the adventurers behind the story? What made them take on such an amazing challenge?
And more importantly, what was their favourite hiking song on the trek?
It’s all here, the highs, the lows, the laughs, the tears, as well as the many weird and random things that made this hike so special!
Want to do your own virtual challenge? – Read how to climb a mountain via your stairs
Meet the #VirtualEBC Team
Rory (The Captain)
The current leading ‘Home Athlete’, Rory Southworth (27), based in the North West has a background in fast and light mountain sports. Predominantly found in the Lake District National Park running and swimming, mostly after work and at night.
EBC trek – Rory used his back seven steps leading into his garden, after being evicted from the indoor stairs (by @tamperandwander)
Most memorable moment – How much hype this created with so many people wanting to be involved, plus the wave of positivity it sent through the Outdoor Community online.
Couldn’t have done the hike without? Spotify playlists – thousands of reps up and down seven steps needs an epic soundtrack.
Best hiking song – Devil Eyes by Hippy Sabotage
Becky (aka The naked hiker)
I’m Becky Angell, 42 from Nottingham. I love chocolate, hiking, camping and being silly (as you have probably guessed). My favourite hikes include including Blencathra in the Lake District, Glyders in Snowdonia and the Kinder Scout in the Peak District.
EBC trek – I completed my hike on the 13 steps in my house, as well as a couple of outdoor steps to mix it up a bit
Most memorable moment – Trying out naked hiking, it was so refreshing and saves on washing clothes! Plus it seemed to cheer people up, no idea why???
Couldn’t have done the hike without? – The Michael Palin book, rainbow and Nepalese prayer flags at the top of my stairs, something colourful to aim for.
Best hiking song – Climb Every Mountain (Sound of Music version)
Eddie (aka The Video Guy
Eddie, 23 from Scotland, will normally be found hiking mountains in the highlands. The easiest way to spot him is he will always have a camera in his hands!
EBC trek – Eddie climbed to EBC on a mix of shared steps, stairs and even flowerpots! Not sure the neighbours were all too happy about Eddie being their alarm clock.
Most memorable moment – When my neighbour came out and just looked at me running up and down the steps in a kilt.
Couldn’t have done the hike without? – The camera kept me going, once I got running all I could think about was what the next angle was going to be for the shot!
Best hiking song – ‘Iain Mcgee’s’ by Niteworks. (This song was made for running steps)
Eddie is creating an amazing film about the challenge, you don’t want to miss out.
Jamie (aka Baby-weighted wanderer)
Jamie Stephenson is a 33-year-old ultra-runner from Cornwall. He can usually be found on the Cornish coast path and mining trails.
EBC trek – Jamie climbed to EBC using his back steps which total 4.44 m in height.
Most memorable moment – Reaching Tengboche with my son strapped to my front. It was a delight to share the experience and views with him!
Couldn’t have done the hike without – The unerring support of my family. I spoke to them regularly and their words of motivation helped push me through the hard times.
Best hiking song – ‘The only way is up’ by Yazz and the plastic population
Lara (aka Tombraider)
Lara is a 27-year-old mountain trail runner and climber, her hobbies include anything involving eating or being active! Favourite place is either Southern Spain, with so much good rock and running trails or of course, Snowdonia where she lives!
EBC trek – Lara used a combo of her stairs in the house, a garden step and a big plastic moving box, whilst wearing a 10 kg weighted vest because she’s a glutton for punishment!
Most memorable moment – Our Zoom call, doing our final 50 m together, that was something really special!
Couldn’t have done the hike without – My rep counter and Thunder, my much-loved family hound!
Best hiking song – ‘Free’ by Twin Atlantic
Will (aka Stairs for brunch)
Will Harper-Penrose is a 32-year-old trail and ultra runner from Cornwall. He loves to run on South West Coast Path and in the Welsh Mountains. Once every 10 years, he might also be able to afford a trip to run in the Canaries.
EBC trek – Will trekked using his stairs and a really wobbly loft ladder, as well as a 10 m high 50 m long outdoor step set.
Most memorable moment – Finishing as a team on zoom with a beer, dressed as Dave Pye with a trademark safety rope.
Couldn’t have done the hike without – Rory for the inspiration and my wife, for not actually divorcing me.
Best hiking song – ‘Ain’t no Mountain High Enough’ by Marvin Gaye
Josh (aka Adventurosaurus Rex)
Josh Rex, 29, born and raised in the Himalayas, now working in countries like South Sudan, loves all kinds of adventure, from Skydiving to climbing his staircase at home. One of his favourite getaways is a secret location in the highlands of Scotland.
EBC trek – Josh completed the trek on his carpeted staircase at home.
Most memorable moment – Having a” half time” nap on the staircase.
Couldn’t have done the hike without? – My trusty thermos flask.
Best hiking song – ‘Go tell it on the mountains’
Gemma (aka Sweaty Stair Stepper)
Gemma, 27, is from Surrey but has lived all over the UK and makes the most of anywhere outdoors nearby! Her favourite places are the Yorkshire Dales, the Lakes and the Gower Peninsula.
She’s also partial to a bit of wild camping because sunrises make up for the fact that camping is sh*t.
EBC trek – Gemma used her stairs, or in the words of Gemma, ‘the bl**dy stairs’.
Most memorable moment – Sliding down the stairs on a duvet, (an avalanche) and also when my boss asked if I could do overtime. I said ‘I couldn’t, I had to climb Everest’.
Couldn’t have done the hike without? – Team motivation. Can’t let the side down!
Best hiking song – ‘Pandemonium’ by Pet Shop Boys (almost on repeat).
Amber Brown (aka Peaky Blinder)
Amber is a 26-year-old adventure enthusiast based in the Peak District. She loves an endurance challenge, is a mountaineer, climber, fell runner and designer. If she wasn’t trekking Everest, she would be in the Scottish Highlands climbing.
EBC trek – Amber used her stairs and the road outside her house.
Most memorable moment – Abseiling down the stairs to avoid wearing out the carpet.
Couldn’t have done the hike without? – The #VirtualEBC Team!
Best hiking song – ‘Mountain at my gates’ by Foals
Ros (aka All the gear no idea)
Ros Hawes, 40, loves the idea of the ‘Great Outdoors’, but she just doesn’t get much opportunity to hike in the mountains, as she’d like. She lives in London, loves fitness food and retail. You’ll most likely find her in Dolgellau hiking Cadair Idris in Snowdonia.
EBC trek – Ros climbed on a Lateral Thigh Trainer and the stairwell of a block of flats.
Most memorable moment – Too many to mention but probably those sunglasses @davepye
Couldn’t have done the hike without? – 30 amazing people.
Best hiking song – ‘Dangerous’ by Roxette (the lyrics are quite apt)
Jamie (aka Accidental adventurer)
Jamie Miranda, 29 is from Cheshire, he calls himself as the accidental adventurer. After one hike in the Lake District many years ago with a family member, he was hooked from there he spent most weekends in the Lakes District.
EBC trek – Jamie used the stairs in his home, although he was banished (to save the carpet), then he got creative using a step and ladders in this garden.
Most memorable moment – Trying to film whilst climbing a ladder and not realising I had missed a step and ending up on my back!
Best hiking song – Isolation by Joy Division
Harrison (aka The Hotstepper)
Harrison Ward, also known as Fell Foodie, is 29 and based in Ambleside in the Lake District. A keen hiker, he can often be found cooking up some tasty grub in the mountains on a camping stove.
Previously struggling from obesity and alcoholism, the positive mental health benefits of the challenge really appealed to him.
EBC trek – Harrison completed the challenge on a mix of car park steps, his stairs at home and front steps.
Most memorable moment – getting puzzled looks from his neighbours and local passers-by.
Couldn’t have done the hike without? – My ankle support – it may have been a virtual hike to base camp but the elevation gained was all real.
Best hiking song – ‘Gonna Fly Now’ by Bill Conti (theme from Rocky)
David (aka The Shady Sherpa)
David Pye, 37, born in Northumberland, now resides on the edge of an incredible playground, otherwise known as the Lake District. He designs his life around exploring the area, spending most of his free time launching into lakes and tarns. The colder the better!
EBC trek – David climbed #virtualebc using every step and stair in his Victorian house (including loft ladder) and even threw in his dining room table for good measure!
Most memorable moment – His near-death experience when he came close to falling down a ‘crevice’ after he bashed his big toe on a ridge.
Couldn’t have done the hike without? – My sunglasses and ‘essential’ safety rope.
Best hiking song – ‘Highway To Hell’ by ACDC
Becca (aka Dog Whisperer)
Becca is a 29-year-old outdoor swimmer from Bristol. She has lived in Cardiff for the past couple of years and loves setting out on adventures around south Wales to find the coldest water, as she’s still chasing the chance to attempt an ‘Ice Mile’.
EBC trek – She climbed the 16 uneven steps outside my parent’s house!
Couldn’t have done the hike without? – Team accountability, seeing all the team’s videos in the morning really spurred me on.
Best hiking song – ‘All my Life’ by Foo Fighters
Emma (aka Building block climber)
Emma Haxell, 28 was born in north Wales but is now lives in Essex. Her hobbies include cycling, hiking, running and wild camping. She loves an adventure and spends most of her weekends in Snowdonia or the Lake District – chasing sunsets!
EBC trek – Emma hiked using stairs and make-shift building block steps in her garden.
Most memorable moment – Reaching EBC with the rest of the team on a team ‘Zoom’ call
Couldn’t have done the hike without? – The team – the videos, conversations, words of encouragement have been great.
Best hiking song – ‘Gotta Get Thru This’ by Daniel Bedingfield
Rebecca (aka Stair Rambling Rebs)
Rebecca Clark is a 29-year-old from Newcastle Upon Tyne. She loves hiking, travelling and her bulldog Hector. Her favourite place to adventure is the Lake District.
EBC trek – Rebecca made the ascent on a mixture of 16 carpeted stairs and one single front step.
Couldn’t have done the hike without? – My amazing teammates and peanut butter by the spoonful!
Best hiking song – ‘Pump it’ by Black Eyes Peas
Marie (aka Roof terrace tramper)
Marie Cheng from Sheffield is normally found on the ski slope or on a hiking trail. As a new #getoutside champion, once lockdown is over you’ll probably find her hiding behind your sofa strongly “encouraging” you to get off your backside into the outdoors.
EBC trek – Marie used two different stairwells to mix up the views a bit and the roof terrace stairs.
Most memorable moment – Watching the sunset on the roof terrace whilst huffing with a big pack was memorable for a lot of reasons!
Couldn’t have done the hike without? – My dog, although I questioned her dedication at times! Plus there were tantrums.
Best hiking song – ‘Champagne Supernova’ by Oasis
Gilly (aka Expedition artist)
Gilly McArthur, 48, from Aberdeen but lives in Cumbria is the oldest member of the EBC Team. She is a rock climber, fell runner and ice swimmer. In winter you’ll find her cutting channels in iced lakes to swim in and in summer, she’s a director of the Women’s Trad Fest, a climbing festival in the UK.
EBC trek – She chose her 3 flights of stairs in her Victorian terraced house and wonky garden stamps to base camp.
Most memorable moment – the views, the proximity to a gin and tonic in the evening and most definitely the camaraderie for my birthday.
Couldn’t have done the hike without? – my spare glasses, my comfy bed and my foam roller. They are all allowed on Everest right?
Best hiking song – I’m Gonna Be (500 miles) by The Proclaimers
Matt (aka Reppy McRepface)
Matt Gibson from Leeds now lives near the Yorkshire Dales. He’s 41 and when he’s not working he loves to go trail running, cycling, open-water swimming, hiking and camping. He’s happiest when he’s in the Yorkshire Dales, the Lake District or the Alps.
EBC trek – A combination of a grassy hill at the end of his street, the road next to his house and stairs in his house
Most memorable moment – A lady walking her dog asked me how many reps of a hill I was doing and why. I explained our challenge and she put two fingers to her temples and mimicked blowing her brains out!
Couldn’t have done the hike without? – Rory and the team for all their encouragement and support, and my cheat sticks which helped drag me up each hill rep
Best hiking song – ‘It’s a Long Way to the Top’ (If You Wanna Rock ‘N’ Roll) by AC/DC
Linn aka Zero Waste Adventurer
Linn van der Zanden (38), based in Scotland is passionate about sustainable, low carbon adventures and runs a local Microadventures group to encourage people to get outside close to home. As well as climbing Munros she loves wild camping, swimming, and trail running.
EBC trek – Linn used a mix of her back five steps in her garden (which were cleaned for the first time in 7 years for the occasion!), indoor stairs and local hill reps.
Most memorable moment – Watching everyone’s unedited blooper videos at the end of each day from ‘camp’ and seeing all the different walks of life coming together for one challenge.
Couldn’t have done the hike without? My daughter’s high fives, the teammates’ words of encouragement and Rory’s stretching advice 🙂
Best hiking song – ‘Ain’t no Mountain High Enough’
Kirsten (aka Wainwright Wanderer)
Kirsten Cook, 34 (Kir) lives in Cheshire. She is a mother to her 3-year-old Ethan, a wife to Christian and fur-mum to her Husky, Solar. Kir loves to fell run, cook and bake (vegan), read and frequent old-man pubs to savour fine ale.
Her favourite place in the whole wide world is the Lake District.
EBC trek – Kir used steps, stairs and flowerpots, in her split-level bungalow!
Most memorable moment – Getting shot at by her husband with a Nerf blaster. Apparently, he thought it would encourage her to go faster! (He now sleeps in the lounge with Solar)
Couldn’t have done the hike without? – Spotify and homemade vegan banana, walnut and chocolate bread
Best hiking song – ‘Born to Run’ by Bruce Springsteen
Milly (aka CaMILLYon)
Milly 35 lives in East Yorkshire, originally from Poland. her main hobby is hiking. You can often find her hiking in the Welsh mountains and if she’s not hiking, she’s probably having a BBQ in her garden
EBC trek – Milly climbed to EBC on a mix of stairs, loft ladder, table/chairs, flower pots, bags of logs, a fence and much more. Award for the most creative hiker!
Couldn’t have done the hike without? – Our wonderful team, a tape measure, a pen and paper!
Most memorable moment – dressing up as t-rex to make laugh my son
Best hiking song – I’m gonna be (500 miles) by The Proclaimers
The rest of the team!
Also a shout out to the other team members Stevie @steviecbarker, Marguerite @maggie_outdoors, Laura @stivesmermaid, Joe, Leo @leography.
And to our teammates that sadly had to drop out due to altitude sickness Jason @splendid_chap, and Freya @freya_adventureawaits, but managed to get a flight to base camp to celebrate with us.
Watch the #VirtualEBC Film
Yes, we are proud to announce the #VirtualEBC film will be coming soon to a laptop, tablet or phone near you.
To be a part of this amazing challenge, we take you right through every breathtaking moment on the trek.
You won’t be disappointed!
And even if you are, what else do you have to watch now that everything else on TV is a repeat haha!
Sign up here to be the first to watch this (soon-to-be) award-winning film!
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